Eyeing her next shot, Taylor Kain-Godoy CM '17 analyzed the hole in front of her with practiced confidence. After playing for over 15 years, she knew how to take a deep breath, determine the perfect angle from which to strike, swing with just the right amount of finesse, and…bingo! She got it once again!
There were countless scenarios like the one above for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team at the California Lutheran University Invitational. Kain-Godoy, Margaret Loncki CM '18, and two other Athena players' scores were combined to a total 635 strokes for the tournament, which was good enough to put them into first place. Pomona-Pitzer trailed them by 24 strokes to place second.
“It's all about mental toughness. That's the hardest part of the game by far,” Kain-Godoy said. “You need to focus for four hours a game, but you also need to make sure that you're not concentrating too hard that you're exhausting yourself. You have to force yourself to not focus in between strokes or when you're walking between holes. If you try to focus the whole time, you just can't.”
Hard work pays off, as the Athenas work hard to fit lots of practice time in to hone their mental toughness as well as refine their technical skill. They commute to the driving range and golf course four times a week.Strong team comradery and friendships on the team make it easier. “
We have inside jokes we yell to each other across the field, which is good for a mental break when you need one,” Kain-Godoy said. “It makes it easier. I also think we have the potential to do well in the future because we are such a young team.”
Kain-Godoy scored 80 strokes in the first round at the Cal Lu Invitational and a 84-stroke game in the second, contributing to the total score in both instances. “I didn't play that well. I messed up the last five holes, which put me 10 strokes behind, so I wasn't satisfied,” said Kain-Godoy, who holds herself to high standards on the course. “This weekend, [Cal Lutheran] is a big motivator to play well in future tournaments.”
CMS did very well in their most recent University of California, Santa Cruz Invitational, held Mar. 20-21 in Pacific Grove, California. The Athenas placed second only to George Fox University, a team that is currently second in the nation. CMS came from behind on day one to displace Whittier College's second place spot and claim it for their own. “That felt really good,” Kain-Godoy said, “especially since Whittier is in our conference.”
With the Athenas playing the way they are, is a SCIAC championship in their future? “Maybe!” Kain-Godoy said. “Redlands [University] is in our conference and they're incredible, so we'd have to bring our A-game and play really well.”